Cornerstone Theater Company


Jordan Downs Transformation by the Decade-2000s

Opening night is tonight A Jordan Downs Illumination and we are sold out! Click here to check for available performance dates and times.

Jordan Downs is once again on the precipice of change. As much as the neighborhood has changed, some things have stayed the same. While amenities, like showers, have been added and the buildings have been painted, much of the original design is still intact. Not for long.

In the late 80s, talk began to circulate about selling the housing project to private developers.

It took decades to put the plan in action, but in 2017, the Housing Authority along with their partners The Michaels Organization and BRIDGE Housing secured funding for the first round of demolition and construction in the Jordan Downs area.

This development project means tearing down the buildings that have stood in Jordan Downs for 75 years. The Housing Authority of Los Angeles, along with the developers, intend to turn the area into mixed use, mixed income housing. The goal is to relocate each qualifying resident into the new units when they are built.

This marks a significant change for Jordan Downs and for Watts. This is the change that has inspired us to commemorate the long history of the area and celebrate the residents.

Jordan Downs is where history was made.

Above: Amde Hamilton of the Watts Prophets.
Above: Daude Sherrills and Imam Mujahid Abdul-Karim celebrate the 20-yr anniversary of the Watts Gang Truce.

The Jordan Downs Housing Project was founded with the intention of providing affordable housing to those who need it most. Over the years, the area has been neglected and even vilified. Nevertheless, the residents have always come together to fight for their community. Some residents are worried that this is the end of Jordan Downs as they know it. And it is. The area will never be the same again. But the hope is that with change, which is inevitable, comes opportunity. Some residents have already been moved into new housing. Others are hoping for a smooth transition. The development could take at least 10 years to complete. Until then Watts Waits.

Rendering of the new Jordan Downs.

This blog series was created by Lindsay “LJ” Jenkins, A Jordan Downs Illumination Producing Associate. The material within these blogs was collected during the creation of A Jordan Downs Illumination premiering May 17-26, 2019 at the Jordan Downs Recreation Center in Watts. CLICK HERE to find out more and purchase tickets.